May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust


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Approach to Philanthropy

hero-curves

We believe that every individual possesses an innate dignity; a capacity to overcome adversity, hardship, or missteps; and a potential for transformation that, when accompanied by motivation and effort, compels support from the community.

Guided by Values and Beliefs

The Trust is guided in all its activities and grantmaking by the following values and beliefs: Respect, Humility, Interdependence, Stewardship, and the Dignity and Potential of every individual.

Proactive and Responsive

The Trust primarily makes grants to returning grantees and to new organizations by invitation. However, unsolicited Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) from eligible and strongly-aligned organizations are also considered. To learn more, please see the grantseekers section.

Types of Organizations

Because the Trust is interested in supporting organizations that strive to achieve a lasting difference in the lives of the people they serve, most grants are awarded to organizations that provide direct services to individuals. However, acknowledging that organizations operate as a part of larger communities and systems, the Trust also supports organizations working to effect positive change at the individual, family, and community levels; and those engaged in systems and policy improvement on behalf of its focus populations.

Flexible Funding

Believing that effective organizations know best how to allocate resources, the Trust aims to provide the least restrictive funding appropriate to a grant's purpose; sometimes that is program support, and other times it is general operating support. Over 50% of the Trust’s grantmaking is for general operating support. Requests for capital support grants are considered by invitation only.

Multi-year Grants and Repeat Grants

Most first-time grants awarded by the Trust are for one year. The Trust considers multiple-year grant requests from organizations that have already successfully completed at least one grant cycle with the Trust. Multiple-year grants are generally two years in duration. Many effective and well-aligned organizations receive consecutive grants from the Trust over several years.

Stewardship

The Trust prioritizes established organizations and programs with a strong track record of measurable outcomes. The application process is thorough and extensive; Program Officers are content experts in their program areas and are responsible for conducting a thorough due diligence process, which may include multiple telephone conversations and email exchanges, before recommending a grant to the Trustees. Due to the Trust’s large geographic service area, site visits are not conducted prior to awarding a grant, but may be scheduled at a later date.

The Trust is interested in learning through its grantees’ successes as well as their challenges. Grantee reports are an important part of our learning process and our commitment to stewardship.